Approach Shots

The best irons player at the 2020 U.S. Open explains his go-to shot

Will Zalatoris at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Will Zalatoris at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

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The 2020 U.S. Open was the week a bright, young player established himself as one of the game’s most intriguing talents.

No, I’m not talking about Bryson DeChambeau. I’m talking about Will Zalatoris, the No. 1 player on the Korn Ferry Tour who finished T6 in his first major as a professional.

Powering Zalatoris’ performance was an impressive display from tee to green: The 24-year-old led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach, gaining 7.97 shots with his irons over the course of the week. If you watched closely you may have spotted him returning to one shoot repeatedly: a little knockdown. It was the shot he used for his hole-in-one on Thursday, which you can watch below.

It’s become a go-to shot for Zalatoris over the years, which he perfected playing in Texas.

“Growing up in Texas, I got used to playing in a lot of winds,” Zalatoris says. “Over time I got used to bringing the ball down and controlling the trajectory.”

How do you hit it? According to Zalatoris, it comes down to four simple things:

  1. Choke down slightly on the club, about an inch or so.
  2. Play the ball slightly back in your stance.
  3. Make an aggressive turn through the ball.
  4. Keep your finish abbreviated.

A pretty simple formula, and if it’s good enough for one of the most talented ball-strikers around, it’s worth trying yourself.

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